Brothers and Sisters,
First of all I want to thank all of you who have signed up for the MISSOURI PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTER plate program. Unfortunately we have not reached the 200 sign ups needed to go into production. So, on January 22, 2018 the MSCFF is having a Presidents Meeting. At this meeting I am prepared to make two motions. One is that we reduce the cost of the plates from $25 to $10 dollars, refund $15 to those who paid $25, and use the revised plates, that is shown here, as the new plates, and let only paid union firefighters, whether active, retired, or have left the job in good standing, be elgible to purchase them. I will ask all of the Presidents in attendance to show their support by signing up for the plates as well. If for some reason this motion fails, then I will make a motion to refund back all of the money that we have collected to date, to those who have signed up for the MO PRO FIREFIGHTER plate program. Hopefully, this will move our affiliate Locals leadership to help spread the word to their members. Regardless, you should know what direction we're going with the program by the end of the month. You may call or text me directly at 816.536.2662 or inbox me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any other questions.
Fraternally,Sherwood L. Smith
Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters
6320 Manchester Ave Suite 42
Kansas City, Missouri 64133
816.536.2662 - Cell
816.358.8383 - Fax
Email - email@example.com
Thursday, December 21st: Last night, in its very last act of legislative business for the year, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously to pass legislation to reauthorize the Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs. The bill authorizes the two programs at $750 million each – making $1.5 billion available for staffing, training and equipment for the departments where our members work over the next six years.
The bill now goes to the president for his signature, and he is expected to sign it, ending a lengthy saga whereby the two programs were threatened with elimination.
The IAFF has been working with its friends in Congress for nearly two years to reauthorize AFG and SAFER, which were due to expire on January 2, 2018. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Jon Tester (D-MT) led the effort on our behalf in the Senate. In the House, at the very last minute, Representative Barbara Comstock (R-VA) authored a sister bill to reauthorize AFG and SAFER, but included a new seven-year sunset clause. This is the bill passed by the Senate yesterday and due to be signed into law.
AFG and SAFER are critical resources for fire departments in every state. We are proud to have been able to win reauthorization for both programs and will work in the coming years to pull out the sunset provision.
The application period for the Fire Act Grants will be opening soon, this will be for the FY2017 money.
The 2017 AFG Grant Cycle Application Period:
AFG: December 26, 2017 thru February 2, 2018. For more information visit FEMA website here.
FP&S: February 12, 2018 thru March 12, 2018
SAFE Grants: Earliest open date end of March 2018; subject to appropriation versus reauthorization language - the application may change depending on which comes first.
AFG: March 2018
FP&S and SAFER: May 2018
It takes many hours to prepare a grant application that has a good chance of success. The process is very competitive, and only about 25% of the applications even have a chance at success. It’s critical to start early before the application period opens.
FIRE ACT GRANTS
There are three separate grants that make up the Fire Act Grants, Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG), Fire Prevention & Safety (FP&S), and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER). All three applications periods will be open separately, one after another with the AFG usually going first. The application period is usually between four and six weeks and may be extended should FEMA choose to do so. At least one of the grants will probably be open during the Christmas/New Years holiday season. Working on grant applications over the holiday season compounds time issues.
The need for additional funding isn’t something that sneaks up on departments, many departments are dealing with funding deficits now, and they aren’t going to get better as we move into FY2018. Departments should be able to identify possible projects for purchasing and hiring. It’s important to our locals that these projects be brought forward now instead of waiting for the official announcement.
It is very important to have a grant strategy and to identify all requests before the first application period opens. No single grant will fund all of the requirements for a specific project. For example, to hire new fire fighters, SAFER provides the wages, AFG provides the physicals, PPE, and training. It costs the department a lot more money to hire if they hadn’t thought to ask for the necessities to put that new employee to work from AFG. It also makes more sense when crafting and describing the need and the project.
THE UNION’S ROLE
Except for the FP&S grant, applications are controlled by the fire department and require the chief’s approval. While the union doesn’t play a direct role, we can make a huge difference by offing assistance identifying projects, and providing direct technical assistance. Many things we try to negotiate into contracts or add to operating guidelines can be paid for by grant money. Of course grant many can’t be used to pay for projects completed before the money is awarded, but it can pay for health and safety, health and wellness, equipment and training projects in addition to SAFER paying for hiring new fire fighters. It is important for our leaders to have a seat at the table when this money is talked about and decisions made.
We can also provide technical assistance in a variety of ways but time and funding are limited, all requests need to be forwarded to (firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible so that assistance can be as effective as possible.
Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG)
This grant covers the bulk of the department’s needs. Money will be allocated for vehicles, equipment, training and health and wellness projects. Does your department offer a mental health/substance abuse program? If not, it can be funded by AFG. Need new turnouts or SCBA? AFG can fund it. Training? Again AFG can fund it. Training programs the IAFF offers can be funded from AFG awards, but the department has to plan and ask for the money.
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER)
Does your department meet NFPA 1710? Are you having to close or brown out a station? SAFER can fund projects to improve staffing and compliance with NFPA 1710. There is now a match requirement for the department, but SAFER still represents a huge discount when adding staff. Some departments shy away from using SAFER money for hiring since the position would be dependent on grant money. The reality is that all of our jobs are dependent on some type of funding and when that funding source is jeopardized. I doubt any of us are losing a lot of sleep over funding problems. When they occur, we do our best to protect our members and the system. The same applies to employees hired through grant funds. They will be employed for the three years of the described in the award contract. At the end of that time, the department can find another resource, lay them off, or apply again, but that’s three years the department has improved staffing.
Fire Prevention & Safety (FP&S)
Does your department investigate all fires? Does the department have a fire inspection program? What about safety programs for fire fighters and the public? All of those needs can be funded through this grant or AFG. This is the smallest and the most competitive of the three grants and the only one where a Local can directly apply.
Wednesday December 20, 2017: Missouri Governor Eric Greitens and IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger made a landmark announcement in St. Louis, MO concerning First Responder Cancer Presumption. As we all know, cancer has taken a toll on our ranks as never before, and the International Association of Fire Fighters, the Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters, and the Governor’s office have been working hand in hand to make sure our members and their families are protected as much as possible. We are encouraging our members and their families to look for further information from your MSCFF District Vice President as legislative action develops. Here is a video of this Press Conference. Please share this link with your co-workers, friends, and family.
On Monday, March 6th Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) addressed the attendees at the International Association of Fire Fighters Legislative Conference. Senator McCaskill is very supportive of continuing to fund Fire Grants, Cancer Presumptive Laws and Collective Barganing Rights for Hours, Wages and Working Conditions.
During our visit to the US Capitol on Tuesday, March 7th, Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters President Sherwood Smith and IAFF Local 42 Secretary-Treasurer Tim Dupin visite with Senator McCaskill to discuss the IAFF Legislative Agenda for 2017 and ask for her support on the key issues that we are striving to continue to have funded for SAFER Grants, the FIRE ACT and more. For more on this please read the article that appeared in the Lee's Summit Tribune here.
An article was featured on February 26th in the Kansas City Star highlighting the increase in cancer related deaths in Firefighters across North America. Here in Missouri families are faced with fighting for workers' compensation benefits after their loved ones have died and the our government acknowledges are presumptively job related due to the exposure of carcinogens that firefighters are exposed to throughout their careers. Read the entire article here.
The Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters would like to welcome our newest Affliate Local: Lake City, MO Fire Fighters. Lake City Fire Fighters protect the individuals that work and reside at the Army Ammunition Production facility, located in Independence, MO.
What's New at MSCFF
The Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters is proud to introduce our newest communication tool; the UnionActive™ Mobile Application for Android, iOS Smartphones and Tablets.
This new technology works in concert with our website. All this is required to use the Mobile App is to be a registered user with the MSCFF website. We will soon provide all registered members a link to download the Mobile App via Google Play or iTunes Store thru our website Email system.
If you are not currently a registered member we would like to encourage you to visit our website and register. Once you have been approved you will have complete access to the latest information regarding Fire Fighter Issues within Missouri right in the palm of your hand. Please allow 24 to 48 hours to be approved once you have registered.
Once you download the Mobile App, you will log into the application with the same User Name and Password that you established to access the MSCFF website. From that point forward each time you launch the Mobile App you are already logged in and can access the Members Only Section of the website via the Mobile App.